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Herpes Symptoms in Women: Genital Herpes Diagnosis, Treatment

Sep 9, HSV-2 is most often passed by vaginal sex and anal sex. But just as HSV-1 can infect the genitals and cause genital herpes, HSV-2 can pass. The key facts about Herpes in relationships are that you should have supporting facts HSV-2 infection is usually passed on during vaginal or anal sex. HSV Oct 22, Genital herpes symptoms include painful sores that are really infectious. vaginal or anal sex without a condom or dental dam with someone.

After the initial outbreak recurrent infections Herpes outbreaks can keep coming back rather unexpectedly. This is because the herpes virus takes up permanent residence in nerve roots, and can never truly be eliminated 7.

Genital herpes outbreaks that occur after the primary infection are called recurrent infections 1. Fever and general feelings of being unwell are not usually present with recurrent infections 4.

The number of recurrent outbreaks decreases over time 4.

Get the facts about Herpes in relationships

During recurrent infections, something called viral shedding occurs, meaning that a person is contagious and can pass on herpes virus to another partner 2,4. The best way to avoid transmitting herpes if you know you have it is to always use a condom or another barrier method.

Most people who have recurrent infections have less severe lesions for a shorter period of time, compared to the primary infection 5. How is genital herpes transmitted? Genital herpes is spread through direct sexual contact of mucous membranes the soft moist skin present at the openings of your genitals and mouthherpes lesions and fluids, as well as through genital fluids and saliva 1,7. Viral shedding occurs when someone is contagious and able to pass on the virus.

If herpes blisters are present, viral shedding will occur, making the person very contagious 8. If no blisters are present, this does not not mean that they are not contagious. Viral shedding can still happens in absence of active lesions, which means a person can still pass on the genital herpes virus to an unsuspecting partner 2,8,9,10, How common is genital herpes?

Genital herpes is a very common STI, but since many people are asymptomatic or are in a phase between visible outbreaks, it is perceived as less common than it actually is.

Genital herpes caused by HSV-2 is estimated to the second-most prevalent STI in the United States, affecting almost 24 million people between 15 and 49 years of age But this estimate only accounts for people with the HSV-2 virus. Since genital herpes is increasingly being caused by HSV-1 13the amount of people with genital herpes infections is likely even higher.

Worldwide, a range of million people aged 15 to 49 years old are estimated to be living with HSV-2, with a global prevalence of around 1 in 10 people having HSV-2 More women than men are affected by HSV-2 14 ; this is because herpes is more easily transmitted to the female partner during sex 3.

Since genital herpes cannot be cured, the number of infected people in a population can only grow as more and more people become infected. The only way to reduce genital herpes within a population is through prevention. Oral herpes caused by HSV-1 can also be a source of genital herpes. Across the world, it is estimated that 2 out of 3 people under 50 years of age—around 3. How can I prevent contracting or spreading genital herpes?

Practicing safer sex and using condoms can moderately reduce the risk of contracting genital herpes Condoms should be used before any genital or sexual contact begins—not just during ejaculation. Since outbreaks and viral shedding may occur in areas not covered by a condom, total protection—even with perfect and consistent condom use—cannot be guaranteed Do a visual scan People with outbreaks herpes blisters present in the genital area should abstain from sexual activity until the sores have fully healed.

The risk of transmission of genital herpes is highest during outbreaks, when viral shedding is at its greatest. If a person with genital herpes feels prodrome symptoms—they sense that a herpes outbreak will happen soon—then sexual intercourse should be avoided until after the outbreak has subsided, and all of the blisters and ulcers have completely healed.

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Limiting the number of sexual partners you are exposed to will also decrease your risk of contracting genital herpes and other STIs. If you've had unprotected sex, or if you experience symptoms of genital herpes, visit your healthcare provider or local STI clinic for an STI screenings.

If you have genital herpes, be open with your partner and talk about the risks of transmission. Douching should be avoided, as this may actually increase chances of contracting an STI Researchers are working towards the development of other preventative strategies, such as an HSV vaccine and topical microbicides to help prevent the spread of herpes 3.

How is genital herpes diagnosed?

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To diagnose a genital herpes infection, a healthcare provider will inspect the lesions and discuss sexual history and if applicable previous herpes outbreaks. The provider may run lab tests of the lesions, or blood tests to detect the virus How is genital herpes managed? The herpes simplex virus cannot be cured, but it can be managed using antiviral medications to help control outbreaks. These medications help to prevent the outbreaks from happening as often and to reduce the symptom severity and duration 3.

There are two different treatments for people with genital herpes: In suppressive therapy, antiviral medications are taken daily to reduce the frequency of herpes outbreaks 4. Having less frequent outbreaks means fewer episodes of painful genital lesions and less viral shedding, which will help reduce the risk of giving herpes to a partner.

Episodic treatment may be better suited for people with infrequent outbreaks. Antivirals are dosed at the onset of symptoms to help ameliorate symptoms and shorten the duration of the outbreak If you have genital herpes, talk to your healthcare practitioner to determine which management option is best for you. For people with herpes blisters inside the vagina, using tampons or menstrual cups during menstruation may be painful or irritating, making pads or menstrual underwear a better option during outbreaks.

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